macbook pro

That post about MacBook Pro’s keyboard

It was only a matter of time until I published a post dedicated to the issues I’ve been having with my 2017 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

2017 macbook pro

Seeing the trend of people having issues with the MacBook Pro that’s been going around the web, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

It wasn’t too long ago when MacBook Pros were the best in the industry. I had the luck of enjoying the glorious days with my 2015 MacBook Pro. It didn’t fail once. I thoroughly enjoyed that device until the day I gave it back.

When I got the newer model, a 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I was surprised at how lightweight it was compared to my previous 13-inch model. I loved the slim profile, the brighter-than-ever display, and the amazing sound quality. The touch bar felt like a bit of a gimmick, but it wasn’t too bad. The keys took some time getting used to, and I was fine with the port situation because I’d bought adapters.

2017 macbook pro
2017 macbook pro
MacBook Pro 2017 (15-inch) vs 2015 (13-inch).

Little did I know that it was soon to become a disaster.

The problem with the keyboard

Anyone who follows what’s going on in Apple world is well aware of the failing of butterfly keyboards. I can’t deny that once I got used to the new mechanism, I was typing faster than before. But no amount of good experience could make up for the fact that the keys eventually started to fail.

The truth of the matter is, I’ve gotten so used to the operating system, how it works, the apps I use, and still-the-best exterior design of the Mac laptops that I wouldn’t really want to use anything else.

The most common issue that I began facing like the rest of the redesigned MacBook Pro users was dust getting underneath the keyboard. I’ve had this happen at least 20 times in the past few months.

2017 macbook pro

What happens is that one of the keys gets stuck in a “pressed-down” situation. I can feel it right away that it isn’t traveling anymore when I press it. It also registers incorrectly, meaning one press often equals to multiple and vice versa.

The solution to this is usually to blow air at that key from different angles so that the dust particle gets out. It has worked for me most of the time although I’ve never been able to see this culprit dust particle that was stuck underneath the keyboard.

All of that was good until one day, the period key got stuck in that position permanently. No amount of air-blowing from all possible angles into it worked. Eventually, the same happened with the left Cmd key. And last night, the H key met the same fate.

As someone who needs to type an insane amount every day for work and personal projects, this is not only troublesome but also downright unacceptable. I had to switch to another laptop right away after the H key stopped working correctly last night.

The death of Touch Bar

This also happened sometime this month: The touch bar stopped lighting up. It responds to the touch so I can still kind of guess where something is, and it works, but because there is no light, I don’t see what’s where.

How Apple screwed up this computer so much is beyond my understanding.

This wouldn’t have mattered as much because I think the Touch Bar is mostly a gimmick. Sure, it looks cool and the additional options in the UI based on the app I’m using is appreciated, but I don’t really need it.

Except when I need to press escape.

Or use the function keys, for that matter.

I can get by because I know roughly where the escape key is on the touch bar. But if I need to hit the function key — which strangely on a Mac, I don’t need as often as I do on a Windows computer — I’ll be in trouble.

I’ve heard from my colleagues that they hardly use the keyboard on their MacBook Pro and use the Apple Magic Keyboard instead. I love that keyboard, but I also love the portability of a laptop, so I can’t carry an external keyboard with me all the time.

The sudden death of the Touch Bar and the erratic behavior of the keys have made me utterly disappointed. And I’m not the one to go mad easily at gadgets.

My tolerance level is pretty high when it comes to these things. But the keyboard, in a laptop, is the most essential part. It goes without saying how big of a deal it is when this becomes faulty. It’s completely unexpected from a company known for its products’ stability and design consistency.

Hopefully the worst is behind us

2017 macbook pro

I haven’t had the chance to check out the third-generation butterfly keyboards on the newer MacBook Pros, but I do have a 2017 12-inch MacBook. I was pleasantly surprised to see how better of a typing experience that has compared to the 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro keyboard. (Which is funny because you’d expect the opposite to be true.)

I absolutely love typing on that. The keys have more travel and are more satisfying to type on.

That gives me hope that the newer MacBook Pros won’t have this issue. Maybe the keyboard has finally gotten better. Maybe the worst is behind us.

For now, I’m having to resort to the smaller MacBook. I have a full review of that little computer in the draft which I will publish soon. (The short version is, it has its limitations, but it also has its use cases where it shines brighter than its bigger brother, the MacBook Air.)

But I can’t shake the feeling of disappointment I’ve developed towards the MacBook Pro. How Apple screwed up this computer so much is beyond my understanding.

But the truth of the matter is, I’ve gotten so used to the operating system, how it works, the apps I use, and still-the-best exterior design of the Mac laptops that I wouldn’t really want to use anything else.

It’s frustrating that we’re having to go through issues like this. But I certainly hope the future products will not be as prone to faults as they have been these years.

Have a disaster story with a MacBook Pro? Let’s hear them in the comments below.

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  1. Great to know the latest Mac Book Pros are having better butterfly keyboards. Also, thanks to this post. I will try and avoid the Touchbar in my next Mac Book Pro. So far I am happy with the 2016 MacBook Pro on which I am typing this comment.

    1. Yeah. The 12-inch MacBook that I have has pretty tactile keyboard. But it still is prone to dust getting underneath the keyboard. 🙁 Fortunately, Apple fixed that recently with some protection under each key in its newer Macs so likely this is a thing of the past.

      Also, with my expected W laptop sometime in Q2/Q3, I can’t decide what to get. I liked the extra screen state of the 15-inch, but I don’t like the touch bar. The Air’s function keys with touch ID seems perfect. Something like that on newer MacBook Pros would be awesome. With the rumors of new 16-inch Macs around, I hope we’ll see some new designs soon. 😀

        1. I’m disappointed myself too. I’ve seen that Wall Street Journal post (that you could read without Rs or Es) which brought the issue back to focus (and led Apple to finally issue an apology; talk about the power of the press!). It sucks that even the latest Macs have this issue. 🙁

  2. +1 to this — “The keys have more travel and are more satisfying to type on.”

    I have a personal MacBook Air (early 2015) and it’s such a pleasure to type on!

    I also didn’t know Apple introduced new generation butterfly keyboards on the latest MacBook Pro machines. Should check that out sometime!

    1. True. Even though the earlier MBP/MBA’s keyboards were a bit ‘wobbly’, they provided great typing experience. I certainly miss them.

      You should check out the new keyboards! It won’t be as good as your current MBA keyboard, but it’s far better than what Apple released in its first and second-generation butterfly switches.

      1. This is a bit older model of the MacBook Air. While it has a nice selection of ports and the keyboard is obviously much better than the current-generation Macs, I think you may regret buying if because its screen is very dated. That’s really the only problem I have with this MacBook Air. If you can find a 2015 MacBook Pro within that price (refurbished even), I would say that would be a better investment than the old MacBook Air.

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